Aug 072015
 
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by Kim Pederson…….

Does it seem to you that it’s always some other person who gets the brilliant idea and retires swimming in money at age 28? Take the guys who founded YouTube for example. They — Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim — opened for business in February 2005. As Chad Hurley said in an interview, they bought the domain name for $20 and then, a mere nineteen months later, they sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion dollars.

And here’s another example. On The Digital Reader site, Nate Hoffelder shares “The Confessions of a Kindle Store Content Farmer.” He tells us of an unnamed author who sells 6,000 books a month and nets over $150,000 per year by “farming” books for the Kindle Store. Translated to capitalismeze, the author outsources his book writing to someone in the Philippines. Here’s the method in a nutshell:

For $150 per book, I send him a 2,000 word outline and 7 days later he sends me a 20,000-word book. I spend about a week editing those 20,000 words. It’s that easy.

I am experiencing brilvy (brilliance envy) at this very moment. This person had a “Eureka moment” and, whether he knew he was copying or not, created his one-person version of the Stratemeyer syndicate, which is

…a network of freelance writers and editors which was designed to produce as many books as possible as cheaply as possible. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Tom Swift series were all invented by the Stratemeyer syndicate, and all the books were ghost-written (and they still are).

As you might have guessed, I’m still waiting for my Eureka moment (EM).

A tub, a tub, my kingdom for a tub! (Woodcut of Archimedes, US-PD)

A tub, a tub, my kingdom for a tub!
(Woodcut of Archimedes, US-PD)

You might or might not recall that the original EM (also known as the Eureka effect) was supposedly experienced as follows:

The Eureka effect is named after the myth that the Greek polymath Archimedes, having discovered how to measure the volume of an irregular object, leaped out of a public bath, and ran home naked shouting “eureka” (I found it). Archimedes was asked by the local king to detect whether a crown was pure gold, or if the goldsmith had added silver. During his trip to the public bath, he noticed that water is displaced when his body sinks into the bath, and that the volume of water displaced equals the volume of the body immersed in the water. This means that he can measure the density of the crown, and compare it to a bar of pure gold.

Of course, I don’t follow any of the science here but it is clear that old Arch stumbled, or splashed perhaps, on something important and potentially lucrative. Reading this story, I’ve also had a small epiphany of my own. I now know why I have not experienced an EM. I do not, sadly, have a bathtub. There’s no question that soaking in hot water brings out the best in people (Blanche DuBois, for example). No doubt it also brings out the best ideas as the heat relaxes you and clears your mind of clutter (a process known as hydrocranialdisentanglement).

It appears, then, that I must plod along with my everyday ideas and try not to be too envious of those with greater tub endowments than mine. It strikes me, though, that I could get one of those old-fashioned wood or copper tubs, plop it down in our house where space allows, and ask my wife to “prepare my bath,” which in this case means heating pans of water repeatedly to fill the EM generator receptacle. She might be persuaded if I tell her this act will help hasten our retirement, not to mention enable multiple trips to Sandals. On the other hand, she might suffer uncontrollable fits of hysterical laughter. I’ve seen this once before when she came upon a bar of Twinkie soap and it is not pretty. Best to avoid repeating that.

Kim PedersonVisit Kim Pederson’s blog RatBlurt: Mostly Random Short-Attention-Span  Musings

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 August 7, 2015  Posted by at 12:22 am Issue #126, Kim Pederson  Add comments

  2 Responses to “A Bad Case of Bathtub Envy”

  1. Kim,

    I had the opportunity to buy a whole bunch of gold when it was $200 an ounce. I didn’t pull the trigger. I cringed as it made its way towards a multiple of 10.

    I explained my indecisiveness away, thinking it was best that I did not have an enormous reserve of money at that time in my life, as I might have done something crazy.

    I really didn’t buy that rationalization. I simply eased my discontent via not reliving the experience everyday. Who knows, maybe it was the right move…

    As usual, excellent article, thank you.

  2. Kim, Sure, our society accepts that a young dude with an idea can be worth gazillions by age 25. I’m not so sure I accept it. He or she is certainly not worth that much more than a plumber who comes to fix a fecal emergency in your house. I feel the same way about John’s gold experience. Why should anyone who invests such and such in gold be worth bazillions for it later on? What exactly has that person done with regard to the rest of us that grants him or her that wealth? I think our society has some perverted attitudes with regard to “worth”. ciao, Jerome

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